Working Together in the New Economy

09/07/2018 |

European Freelancers Week

European Freelancers Week (#EFWeek), the world’s largest annual festival celebrating independent work and helping millions of Europeans discover the Freelance Economy, will return for its third edition in October.

We invite all freelancers, coworking spaces, and organizations to host local events or offer special deals for freelancers. Preregister now!

This years’ theme “Freelancers Assemble! Working Together in the New Economy” aims to drive all local events towards one objective: create an ecosystem of support and collaboration, made by freelancers, for freelancers.

When you hear the word “self-employed” what comes to mind is usually “do it yourself”, and not build something together. However, a recent collaboration trend has started to gain relevance within the 11 million strong European freelance population (6% of the entire workforce).

Fueled by a lack of alternatives offered by governments (eg welfare) or by the market (eg financial products), freelancers have started to join forces and rely to an alternative source of support: each other. They do so by drawing their power from the strength of community and a feeling of solidarity.

Institutions like offices, cooperatives and unions are being turned into spaces for experimenting collaboration and nurturing new forms of work. Novel initiatives are emerging, including platforms cooperatives, mutual insurance funds, unions of solopreneurs, social workplaces, joint bids for public procurement, salary guarantees, time banks, and blockchain decentralized networks.

“To accelerate the impacts of these initiatives, there needs to be greater recognition of the value that freelancers bring to the economy and society and more support from governments and local authorities”.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from freelancers is that your network is everything. The most successful freelancers are the ones who know they need people to turn to when they are in a dry spell, or they are overloaded with work, or you just need some advice.

The objective of #EFWeek is to facilitate community building among freelancers and improve conditions of independent working through learning, sharing, networking and policy action.

Within that context, we aim to spark a movement to self-organise the self-employed, and co-create ideas to take grassroots initiatives to the forefront of the #FutureOfWork debate.

It won’t take long before in people’s mind the word “Do It Yourself”, when referred to self-employment, will be turned into “Do It Ourselves”.

#EFWeek is coordinated by a coalition of national freelancers’ associations in 11 European countries. In 2017, more than 100 events were held in 26 countries. Around 3.000 freelancers have taken part in these events with a 500.000 social media outreach. In previous years #EFWeek was supported by more than 30 organisations including the European Forum of Independent Professionals, the European Coworking Assembly, the European Committee of the RegionsSmart EUWeWorkEuro FreelancersOuiShare and the Estonian Government E-Residency Program.

Thanks for reading 🙌

If you are also working to promote the freelance economy in any ways, I’d like to hear from you. Get in touch at @MarcoTorreg or or in the comments below.